Developing Land Adjoining Heritage Places

      By Renee Lovelady Tomas

      Owners of properties that adjoin heritage places are affected by the new State assessment trigger.

      This is set out in the Planning Regulation 2017.

      Presently, development on a Queensland heritage place is assessable development, unless:

      • An exemption certificate has been given under the Heritage Act
      • The development is liturgical development
      • The development is carried out by the State
      • The development is PDA-related development
      • The development is carried out for the cross river rail project.

      If you make a material change of use application for a premises that shares a common boundary with a lot that is, or contains, a Queensland heritage place, the application will be subject to code assessment and be subject to a referral trigger to the State.


      Section 15(2) of the Planning Regulation 2017 says that a material change of use application is assessable development if the material change of use is carried out on a lot that shares a common boundary with another lot that is or contains a Queensland heritage place. There are exceptions, and these exceptions will render section 15(2) not applicable. These are:

      • The Queensland heritage place is an archaeological state heritage place
      • The material change of use is carried out more than 75m from the boundary of the Queensland heritage place
      • The material change of use is for a single storey development
      • The material change of use is for a dwelling house only and all buildings constructed as party of the use are more than 25m from the boundary of the Queensland heritage place
      • All buildings and structures, other than dwelling houses, constructed as part of the material change of use have a height of less than 3.5m
      • The material change of use involves only alterations to existing buildings and structures, with all alterations to the exterior of a building or structure being minor building work
      • The material change of use is PDA-related development

      What does this mean for you?

      Third party purchasers are now affected by the Heritage Act.

      You should search the Queensland Heritage Register to see if the adjoining properties (i.e. all properties that have a common boundary – so both sides and back) are listed on the register. Not to alarm you, but when you search the Qld heritage register and type in “Townsville” the results bring up 364 places, see this here. This means that potentially there are 3 times this amount of properties that are affected by the assessment trigger.

      If you require assistance with residential land developments, industrial estate developments or residential and mixed use community title scheme developments please call or email our Property Law team. 



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